The Army is integrating sensors, weapons, computers, communications gear and display screens into its tactical and combat vehicles to lighten the load, streamline otherwise disconnected technologies and strengthen an ability to launch electronic attacks, service officials said.
The new “open architecture” on board the vehicles uses ethernet technology to connect C4ISR systems including targeting, weapons and electronic attack applications.
The VICTORY effort, called Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability, is intended to lessen the need for multiple disparate GPS, sensor, display screen and communications “boxes” built into a single vehicle.
The C4ISR and electronic warfare integration, called the “VICTORY” initiative, is aimed at correcting problems created by a “bolt-on” approach to putting multiple pieces of equipment on combat vehicles.
The Army plans to have this new architecture implemented on a wide range of vehicles by next year. VICTORY will be engineered into Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, Strykers, Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, among others.
Aimed at improving what Army developers call “precision, navigation and timing (PNT),” VICTORY will also make combat vehicles more resistant to jamming and electronic attacks.
“Having a common architecture will let us share PNT with all the boxes on a platform so we only need to buy one or two receivers for that platform,” Maj. Gen. David Bassett, Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Vehicles, said last year.
VICTORY provides a phased set of standard specifications covering the capabilities needed to integrate C4ISR/EW mission equipment and platform applications. It is a set of standards and specifications with common terminology, systems, components and interfaces,” Army officials stated.
In particular, the technology includes a new, centralized “data bus-centric” design, sharable hardware components and software upgrades implemented independently of hardware adjustments. VICTORY also integrates hardware and software to improve Information Assurance, Army information explains.
Last year, the Army demonstrated the “VICTORY” technology on a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP.
This 2015 assessment included the integration of the on-board computer systems, CREW electronic warfare devices, SINCGARS radios, Common Remotely Operated Weapons Systems for crew members to attack enemies from within the vehicle under armor, Degraded Visual Environment sensors allowing operators to see through dust, clouds, sand and other obscurants and Warfighter Information Network – Tactical, or WIN-T, a mobile SatCom network.
“This effort gives Soldiers a more common set of tools and capabilities, allowing the Army to reduce Soldiers' operational burden and providing better insight into logistics and maintenance needs through the Army's Condition-Based Maintenance enterprise,” an Army statement said.
Condition-Based Maintenance, or CBM, is a technology wherein vehicle-integrated diagnostic devices asses a range of vehicle components such as engine health, sensor performance and digital display screen effectiveness. This better identifies instances where repairs may be needed on a vehicle, therefore better recognizing when maintenance is required. This extends the service life of a vehicle and also saves money for the Army, Army officials said.
This integration is coming at a time when the Army is also integrating a handful of new vehicle-mounted technologies on combat vehicles such as an emerging force-tracking system called Joint Battle Command Platform. This technology, among other things, gives combat crews an ability to see locations of friendly and enemy forces in near real-time using digital icons on a digital display.
Connecting sensors to force tracking applications and weapons systems, quite obviously, can massively increase the ability to locate, target and attack enemies much more quickly and efficiently.